It had been a big decision accepting the lead teaching position my school was offering me. For the past two years, and since my son was born, I’ve been in a part-time assistant teaching role. This role has been perfect because it has allowed me to maximize my time with my son. In this role there is no take home work, lesson planning, parent phone calls, or report writing. I get home from work, and I am free to be with my son.
This year our Montessori school opened a new upper elementary classroom. A Montessori upper elementary classroom is made up of three grade levels: 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. The children stay in the same classroom for three years. The new classroom has only nine 4th graders. In the fall, the classroom will grow as a new crop of incoming 4th graders join. This means another teacher is needed, and this is the position that my school has offered me. Due to some changes in my life, which I won’t get into now, I needed to accept the position.
In this position I will be co-teaching with, Danielle*, the teacher who opened the classroom this year. I’ve co-taught in the past, and in my experience, it can be a little bit like a marriage. Good, thoughtful communication is required, and it definitely helps if you share a similar style and vision. I’ve had the chance to get to know Danielle a little because I assist a few of her students. I’ve learned that she is slow to warm, but kind; soft-spoken; thoughtful; and organized.
I don’t feel an immediate or natural connection to Danielle. We haven’t spent time sharing stories or laughing together the way I have with some of the other teachers. Our usual communication is a brief hello while passing each other in the hallway. I don’t think it’s necessary for us to be friends to teach well together, but it would be nice.
Yesterday, I’m taken by surprise when I find an envelope on my desk with my name neatly written on it. I have no idea who has left it there for me. I open the envelope. Inside is a brightly colored card with a shiny peace sign. I open the card.
Deborah, Congratulation and thank you! I’m very excited that you will be joining the classroom next year. I think that we will make a great team. Cheers to next year! – Danielle
I smile. It’s an unexpected kind gesture, and it means a lot. I look at the shiny peace sign and feel a sense of relief. I’m not the only one who hopes that we will be friends.